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Sofia's main Soviet army monument gets pop art facelift

Can Superman handle a Soviet machine-gun flanked by Santa Claus with binoculars and rifle, while McDonald's clown mascot Ronald drinks beer behind their backs?

All is possible in a witty pop art facelift of a symbolic Soviet army monument in central Sofia Saturday.

The massive bronze relief sculpture honouring the Red Army's advance on Nazi-allied Bulgaria during World War II has long been a bone of contention between Russophiles and anti-communists in Bulgaria, who want it demolished.

But it drew more smiles than scorn this weekend as both children and adults flocked to have their pictures taken in front of the flamboyantly repainted figures of the soldiers.

Star-spangled hero Captain America, Batman's junior counterpart Robin and his villainous arch-enemy the Joker were also clearly distinguishable in the nine-figure composition.

The unknown street artists had also adorned it with a spray paint caption: "Abreast With the Times."